The gifts

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Ferry returned home after midnight. He had told his father that he would be late. He went to his room and threw himself on the bed. He felt tired. He could feel sleep coming over him. It had been a hard day, with the fire at the mansion and the excitement of the reunion. But now, it was over. He heard Thyme's wings flutter at his window and smiled. Knowing that his friend had returned made him feel safer and calmer. His presence brought him peace, even though Thyme was always ready to attack to defend him. He arranged his pillow better, but he felt a hard object underneath. He lifted the pillow and discovered his mother's small silver wristwatch. Next to him, a note with his father's sprawling handwriting: When you feel it's the right time, come home. This will always be your home. Dad.

Ferry slowly lied on the pillow. He stroked the cold metal of the bracelet and kissed the watch. He held it tight in his fist and pressed it over his heart, trying to match his heartbeat with the ticking of the watch. He had completely forgotten -- it was June 23rd. His birthday. Seventeen years since he was brought into the world of humans. A tear slid down his cheek. His first birthday without his mother. The first of many. And all joy dissipated. He lost sleep again. Ferry thought he would never find peace until he found out who killed his mother.

He remembered his last birthdays that his mother had tried to make as beautiful as she could. He remembered the berry and cream cake, her gifts, always the same, sweaters or knitted scarves, every year with a larger size. He remembered how much they kept him warm in the winter,  knowing that they had been made by her. He thought about the birthday picnics prepared with so much care by Eileen that he spent with Matilda and Ben. Or the times when they roamed the hills from dusk until dawn. Or when he climbed trees with Matilda, with Ben mumbling underneath that the branches could break anytime. He remembered his fairy friends who didn't understand the meaning of birthdays which did not exist in their world, but who were trying to prepare something special for his birthday. None of those were going to happen, now that the time to leave Goodharts was coming. And nothing would have been the same without her, anyway ...

The next evening, he was to meet his fairy friends at Lavender's cottage. Thyme requested an emergency meeting. They had to discuss all the tragic events that had taken place in his absence. And the fate of Akna, as well as his fate, for that matter, now that his powers had come to light. Ferry thought it would not be a very pleasant meeting.

But before that, he had to meet Ben and Celia at the lake. His friends had invited him again to spend the day with them. They called Billy, too. Now that the mansion was burnt, Billy and his father were permanent guests in the Haughty family home. With Ferry's consent, Ben had told Celia who he really was. What the Quest meant. Ben trusted her completely, and Ferry trusted Ben that Celia would keep his secret. The girl had been horrified by the atrocities that had taken place at the Pride Mansion and had hardly accepted the fact that her parents knew and agreed with them. That made them all the more dangerous. That's why Ben and Celia decided to keep their love story a secret from Celia's parents. Celia's father was too upset, however, that the Quest had failed a second time in a row. He didn't care who Celia was seeing. Plus, as long as Billy was around, her parents would let her out of the house almost every time; they still hoped Celia and Billy would be together someday.

Ferry arrived at the lake at noon. Summer had taken over Goodharts and the heat waves were floating above the ground. Above him, somewhere in the heights of the crystal sky, he heard Thyme's wings flutter. Ferry then saw Ben and Celia on a blanket by the lake. Celia was reading something from a book to Ben, and Ben was looking at her. Ferry had never seen anyone so into another person. And he wondered if he had the same look in his eyes when he looked at Matilda. Unfortunately, Matilda didn't come to the lake, and Ferry wondered if that had anything to do with Sage's arrival.

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